The collective nature of the nodal axis
Clare: Marking the two points where the Sun and Moon cross each other's paths, meet, and come together, where the spirit and soul unite from the point of view of the earth, we can see that the nodal axis is equally solar and lunar - and it is therefore of both personal and collective significance. From a collective point of view, everyone born within a particular eighteen-month period will have the nodal axis across the same signs. We studied the six axes last week and, if we are working alchemically in the interests of the development of individual and collective consciousness, it appears that our task is to work with, and endeavour to integrate, the opposite poles of the particular axis we were born on. We could say that we have been born into a particular polarity - into an unresolved imbalance in the collective - and that our personal efforts to recognise the equal validity of both poles of any archetypal spectrum will make a difference to the entire human endeavour, 'for nature's continued existence depends ultimately on the kind of consciousness we bring to bear on it'.
Developing the collective, lunar aspect of the nodal axis further, we know that in the Western mystery traditions within which astrology developed, the collective aspect of the soul is known as the anima mundi, the 'soul of the world', a living, breathing dimension of reality which is teeming with life. I have come to think of the nodal axis as a threshold or doorway between the manifest, physical world and the soul of the world, the anima mundi. The 'world soul' is itself liminal, mediating between the divine and human realms, between the gods and mankind, and it is not only 'full of gods', as Proclus wrote, but, astonishingly, it also appears to be interested in us. We may not be as alone as we think. The existence of this permeable, intermediary realm, and of the beings that reside there was, once upon a time, taken for granted. The more mystically inclined ancient Greek philosophers believed in the existence of a whole range of intermediaries and messengers - archons and daemons - which inhabited the liminal realms between this and other worlds and which were of both personal and impersonal significance.
Audience: This sounds a bit like the 'otherworld' in the Celtic tradition.
Clare: Yes, and in fact these intermediary or otherworlds are found in all traditions and cultures. To mention just a few, in Tibetan Buddhism they are known as the bardos, the place between life and death. In Australian aboriginal culture they are known as the dream time; in Hindu culture it is the akasha - a vast memory store which belongs to all of human kind and within which we can move anywhere in human history instantly. In the Western tradition, this realm is known as the anima mundi. The otherworlds are accessed through the imagination, in myths, stories, dreams, and in altered states of consciousness. They are particularly perceptible when we find ourselves at liminal times and places in our lives, at crossroads or on thresholds or in the moments between sleeping and waking. If you are familiar with rebirthing, regression therapy, or shamanic practices, then no doubt you are already familiar with these realms, in which neither time nor space conform to our normal expectations. The past, present and future exist simultaneously, always and everywhere, behind and beneath the surface of our everyday perception. This is unknown and yet strangely familiar territory. When we visit the otherworlds, we have access to a vast store of experience which is both personal and collective, which is both individual and belongs to all of humanity. In this sense, we could see the Nodes as the meeting place of temporal or time-based dimensions with the spatial dimensions where all of human experience is occurring all the time.